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Gruesome Fatah images underscore concerns over Palestinian incitement

During the past few days, the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has publicised images which appear to glorify the murder of Jews and call for the hanging of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The official Fatah Facebook page posted an image to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the group’s establishment. It depicted a Fatah flag and a rifle atop a mound of human skulls, each one adorned with a Star of David. The image was accompanied by the slogan “Fatah will remain over your skulls.” Fatah spokesman Mahmoud al-Aloul told CNN that, “The image and the text do not reflect the opinions of Fatah” and it was subsequently removed.

However, just a day later, the same Facebook account posted another image which included the logo of the International Criminal Court (ICC), an image of Netanyahu and a noose with the accompanying phrase “coming soon.” The image appeared to be alluding to the PA’s recent application to join the ICC, which is likely to lead to war crimes complaints launched against Israeli leaders and officials. Both Israel and the United States have condemned the move as counterproductive to bilateral diplomatic progress.

Israeli officials have repeatedly complained about Palestinian officials and groups, including Fatah inciting violence against Israelis and Jews, especially through official media channels. During the summer, the Fatah Facebook page depicted three kidnapped Israeli teenage boys in a cartoon as rats caught in a fishing line.

Meanwhile, at the height of violence in Jerusalem in October and November, Abbas himself called on Palestinians to “use any means” to prevent Jews from “desecrating the Temple Mount.” The site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, was a focal point for the Jerusalem violence, during which a number of Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians. In the most deadly incident, five worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue were murdered while praying. The Fatah Facebook page appeared to advocate celebrating the attack by handing out sweets in Palestinian areas.